UPC/ISBN/GTIN/EAN Codes Mandatory for Specific SINs

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As of January, 2012 GSA required "at least one valid UPC/ISBN" for a list of specific SINs. If you upload one or more products for a SIN with the requirement, then you must now have at least one valid code for one of those products for each applicable SIN. The list is available from GSA at GSA VSC Schedules SIN-MOL-Photo-UPC

Universal Product Code Type A (UPC-A) data may soon be required for all awarded products for which this information is commercially available. Compliance enforcement could have begun June 26th, based on this notice in the Federal Register: Standardization of Part Number Data notice in Federal Register. As of September 2015, we have not seen COs or Advantage enforce this requirement, but they can begin doing so at any time, so you should try to get UPCs included in your price lists for items that have them. There is no indication yet that GSA will require UPCs for items where the manufacturer does not use them in commercial (normally retail) trade.

If you are currently using UPC/GTIN/ISBN/EAN (bar codes) on the products you sell through your GSA contract, you need only to provide them in a column of your price list spreadsheet. SenSoft will validate that they comply with GSA rules and transmit them with your catalog. Product codes are currently required only with original or replacement catalog uploads (not changes), but note that GSA is planning to make UPCs mandatory for all of your items if they are commercially available. (Note that EAN8, EAN13, and GTIN 14 are accepted along with UPC 11/12 or ISBN 13 codes as of April 2012).

If you are a manufacturer who does not use one of the acceptable codes or a reseller whose manufacturers do not use product codes, then you will have to address the issue in order to continue publishing catalogs on GSA Advantage. This web site: GS1 US is the official source for defining and using UPC codes in the United States. Registering as a member manufacturer provides you with a unique company prefix and allows you to purchase UPC codes that will be recognized as products or parts manufactured by your company. You can enter the product details in UPC databases and anyone who looks up your code will get the information you supply. Registering can cost several thousand dollars and comes with annual maintenance fees.

If obtaining valid product codes is a financial or other hardship for your company, you can ask GSA for a waiver. For assistance, call the GSA Vendor Support Center (703) 605-9992 or call us at (703) 453-9100.

More information is available in these articles: WSJ article - how to get UPC codes. or Washington Post article on how to get UPC codes If these articles are no longer available search Google for "Buy UPC Codes"

A word of caution about other UPC sources. There are many web sites offering UPC codes for prices that vary between about a dollar and over eighty dollars for each code. Unless the supplier is registering your company prefix with GS1, at best these codes will identify your products as manufactured by another company. Before using bar codes that don't identify your company as the source, you may want to request a waiver from GSA.

The ISBN requirement applies to publications (books) listed on GSA Advantage.

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